Thursday, January 16, 2014

Why is the divorce rate so high (especially in Western countries) if love marriages work?

Why is the divorce rate so high (especially in Western countries) if love marriages work?

Because divorce-rates are mostly a reflection of equal rights for women and social acceptability of divorce, and not how happy people are in their marriages.

There are happy and unhappy marriages everywhere. The biggest difference is not in this, but in what people do if they find themselves in a unhappy marriage.

In some cultures, it's socially unacceptable to ever get a divorce. Especially divorced women are often in a difficult situation. If they were at home as a housewife while the husband worked, they may have little experience with working and few chances of providing well for themselves financially. It is hardly surprising, under such circumstances, that few seek a divorce.

Instead, they endure. Marriages which are without passion. Without love. Without friendship. Sometimes even without basic respect -- nevertheless stay intact on the surface. One of my Iranian friends has parents who are still married to each other despite the fact that they generally try to avoid being in the same room, because they are on so bad terms with each other -- and they have been for more than a decade. Such a couple would almost certainly divorce in a culture where that was more acceptable.

In western countries, the question is not if the marriage is possible to endure. But instead if you think you will be happier inside or outside the marriage. It is common for married people in the west to divorce despite none of them being abusive, despite no cheating, and sometimes even despite a still functional friendship - because one of them, or both, feel that the marriage is holding them back or not providing everything they want from a partner.

To be honest, I am not certain if people in love-marriages are on the average happier than people in arranged marriages. There's a lot to be said for love, for making your own choice, for chemistry. But there's also quite a lot to be said for making a rational choice guided by things like shared values and background and considering pros and cons in a more rational and less emotional light.

Serial monogamy is pretty acceptable in much of "the west" and as such, you should not necessarily consider all marriages that end in divorce as "failures", if 2 people are in love, and live together happily for 3, 5 or 10 years (but not for life), where is the failure in that ? We don't consider other relationships that last for years but not for life a "failure" so why do so for love ?

If you've got a dear friend that you hang out with for 3, 5 or 10 years before you drift apart and lose contact, do you consider that friendship a "failure" ?

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